About Me

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Canberra-based naturalist, conservationist, educator since 1980. I’m passionate about the natural world (especially the southern hemisphere), and trying to understand it and to share such understandings. To that aim I’ve written several books (most recently 'Birds in Their Habitats' and 'Australian Bird Names; origins and meanings'), run tours all over Australia, and for the last decade to South America, done a lot of ABC radio work, chaired a government environmental advisory committee and taught many adult education classes – and of course presented this blog, since 2012. I am the recipient of the Australian Natural History Medallion, the Australian Plants Award and most recently a Medal of the Order of Australia for ‘services to conservation and the environment’. I live happily in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise surrounded by a dense native garden and lots of birds.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Starting Out

Azure Kingfisher
Barmah Forest (River Murray, near Echuca)
April 2012
I've been watching nature, experiencing it, loving it, trying to understand it and sharing those small understandings with others for nearly as far back as I can remember. The Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) out the back of the farmhouse near Wasleys, north of Adelaide, fascinated me as a very small child, as did the small animals that come onto the safely enclosed verandah. My reading as a boy centred around animal books, much of it pretty anthropomorphic, including (at different levels) Shy the Platypus, Shadow the Rock Wallaby, Penguin Road, Kipling, Ernest Thomson Seton, Gerald Durrell, David Attenborough. I have the book where, at age 12, I kept my first daily bird list on a family holiday from Adelaide down the Coorong into Victoria. In time, by now in Canberra, I started to run bush tours back in 1984, for a long time in association with the local Conservation Council and Environment Centre until their needs differed, and wrote books, including wildflower field guides and natural history guides to the ACT's magnificent Namadgi National Park. I taught courses through the ANU's Centre for Continuing Education, including on birds and plants, and have had a regular natural history slot on local ABC radio since 1992. I've served on ACT government environment advisory committees since 1984 and chaired the committee for the past few years. I still do all these things, but now, very tentatively, I've decided to try and share thoughts and observations in another medium, blogging. Who would ever have thought it? But let's see how it goes. I'll comment on things I see happening that might be of interest to others, talk about the natural history of trips that we make - and some that I've made in the past - and if there's any response I can react to that too and perhaps fine-tune future postings accordingly.


Laurus nobilis said...

Congrats on the blog, Ian - you might drag a few of us into this medium with you (this is my second-ever blog comment). Love the idea of a natural history one. Please tell us when you're on the radio - I probably won't be able to listen, but others might.

Flabmeister said...

Welcome aboard! The blogsphere has just been enriched - by your blog, not my comment!!

Anthony said...

Ian, welcome, and a great start!

Ian Fraser said...

Thanks to you all - I am so gratified by your responses, and amazed again by the power and speed of the internet. Do I know you by another name Laurus? Is it rude to ask?? At present I'm only on the radio for the first Tuesday of the month (2.30pm) - this is a bit of a demotion, but I'm hoping to rectify that next year and go back to fortnightly.